• GCAP isn’t going to be a short love affair. It’s going to be a marriage.

By Sangeeta Saxena

Chiba, Japan. 15 March 2023. The buzz word was partnerships and Day 1 at DSEI Japan 2023 could clearly be called the day for global partnerships as the cynosure of all eyes was the Global Combat Air Programme and who better to endorse it than the  UK Defence Secretary himself. Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural conference  at DSEI Japan, Ben Wallace spoke about the importance of long-term industry partnerships for the Global Combat Air Programme

“GCAP is a strategic partnership to create a sixth generation fighter. I’m excited not only because it’s a great partnership of these three nations, bridging Europe and the Pacific, but also because we’re one of the first to lead the sixth generation development. And we’re going to not only be partners but we’re also customers. I think that is important also to remember. We’re going to unlock paths and new technologies, new platforms, export markets and potential new partners, but lock in a strategic partnership of liberal open democracies, who believe in the rule of law and upholding international values across the world that are threatened so strongly today. It’s a global partnership. It’s not a local partnership, ” he reiterated.

The programme is envisaged as an equal partnership between the member nations. In the UK, BAE Systems will act as prime contractor and handle the airframe, Rolls-Royce the engines, Leonardo’s UK division the electronics, and MBDA UK the weapons. In Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will act as prime contractor, with IHI Corporation handling the engines, and Mitsubishi Electric handling the electronics. In Italy, Leonardo S.p.A. will be prime contractor, with Avio Aero working on the engines, and MBDA will also work on missile development.

“GCAP from the United Kingdom’s point of view, we will be investing £2 billion up to 2025 and £10 billion over the next 10 years. The overall development programme will be above £25 billion over the next 10 years and they’ll share designs and hopefully get towards development by 2025,” he added.

Courtesy : ATLA Tweet

The show was inaugurated by the Japanese Minister of Defence Yasukazu Hamada via video conferencing , highlighting the opportunities it will provide for international collaboration in defence and security advancement not only for Japan but also at a global level. Japan’s State Minister of Defense Ino Toshiro visited the show on day one and took stock of the Japanese participation needless to say spent good time at ATLA displays in addition to tasting combat ration. ATLA was the most inviting area with the multi-monitor introducing equipment in line with the seven necessary capabilities, along with the spread of the “dawn” sunlight. The three-day exhibition is promoting features and technologies of Japan’s equipment!

But the most applauded was the presence of   Volodymyr Havrylov, Deputy Minister of Defence of Ukraine and his speech at the conference. Not only does he have extensive diplomatic experience as a Defense Attaché at the Embassies of Ukraine in the United States, the United Kingdom and Romania but also is a superannuated Major General. And above all the world is with him. With the war between Russia & Ukraine  seeing no end in sight, Havrylov thanked Japan and the rest of the world for the support. The other leaders present condemned Russia for this attack.

The other highlight of the day was SIBAT inaugurating its Israeli Pavillion at the DSEI Japan. “We are happy to participate in the DSEI defense exhibition and to inaugurate Israel’s first national pavilion in Japan, constituting an additional step in deepening our defense cooperation,” said the head of SIBAT, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yair Kulas. The Israeli delegation includes representatives of Copterpix, CTI-INTL Solutions, Elbit Systems, Gate Technologies, IAI-Israel Aerospace Industries, Magna BSP, Manta Air, Ophir Optronic Solutions, Orbit Communication Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, RT. LTA Systems, Smartshooter, Steadicopter and Trekace Technologies. And a stray Israeli company or two are there with their stalls but not a part of SIBAT like the Ariel Photonics.

As members of the Quad, Australia and Japan are the most trusted security partners in the Indo-Pacific region and the huge Australian Pavilion and contingent at DSEI Japan proves this amply. A written statement from Austraide says, “At this  DSEI  , we hope that you will deepen your understanding of the products and technologies of Australian corporate universities through interviews with Japanese defense-related organizations and companies. Therefore, we would , appreciate it if you would consider visiting the Australian stand and interviewing with the companies and universities introduced in the attached materials.” Rarely such open invites are given at a show and that too when the number of companies is 43.

Kallman Worldwide is an official strategic partner of the U.S. Department of Commerce and a recipient of their Presidential “E-Star Award” for excellence in service to U.S. exports. It is the largest organizer of trade show pavilions in its home country. “We’re thrilled to be working together on this new project,” says Tom Kallman, President and CEO. “DSEI Japan is a key event for the defense industry and a global leader in terms of innovation, networking, and knowledge sharing. U.S. exhibitors have an excellent chance to take their seat at the top table here, showcasing first-class people, products, and services. The USA Partnership Pavilion lets U.S. exhibitors maximize their exposure and impact on-site.” Members of the Kallman team get kudos for managing and getting the US defence companies together for the national pavillion at DSEI Japan 2023 with 42 U.S. companies exhibiting at the show this year, and to discuss the upcoming opportunities now afforded to them.